The Untold Truth of Heine Westenfluss
At the beginning of SEED DESTINY, we're introduced to cast and crew of ZAFT's Minerva positioning SEED DESTINY to be a sequel, soft reboot as well as a continuance of the Cosmic Era universe story from the perspective of the Coordinators.
In SEED DESTINY, we follow Shinn Asuka as he struggles to find clarity in his role despite his growing victories, only to abruptly find himself being taken under the wing by the equally conflicted Athrun Zala from Gundam SEED who in turn, is guided by the suave and illustrious war veteran, Heine Westenfluss.
Everybody here needs to stop listening to Halsey and do your jobs.
Heine is introduced to us as an already established FAITH member with a long war record, earning the respect of all cast members including Athrun Zala himself, providing the proper guidance and stabilizing element that the Minerva needs, taking the psychological heat off of most of the crew and providing a proper environment for the rest of the crew to grow.
One might argue that Heine is better positioned to be a leadership element for the Minerva crew than Athrun himself is - doubled by the fact that Heine voluntarily gives up the limelight, instead choosing to subordinate himself to Athrun and Captain Gladys despite being a FAITH member.
Athrun: Sunrise wouldn't make me a background character in DESTINY as well..right?
Up until this point, Athrun Zala and Rey and Captain Gladys are the only FAITH members seen on screen, leading to a perception that Chairman Durandal simply made it up as a loophole to enable Shinn, Rey and Captain Gladys to be his personal errand agents.
On the contrary, Heine is not just a FAITH member, he is a veteran FAITH member.
Heine Westenfluss joined ZAFT on February 21, CE 68 when he was just 16 years old and graduated at the top of his military class and earning his ZAFT red coat, making him an ace pilot from the beginning.
During the First Alliance-PLANT War, Heine was assigned to Hawkins team and engaged in combat during the normal course of the war and due to his exemplary war record, he was issued his trademark ZGMF-1001/M Blaze Zaku Phantom (Heine Westenfluss Use) in his own custom colors of orange, a requisition reserved only for ace pilots with outstanding war records.
Heine's Custom Use ZGMF-1001/M Blaze Zaku Phantom + EX-M Blaze Wizard Pack
At the dawn of the Second PLANT-Alliance War during the attack on Aprillus One, Heine's custom Blaze Zaku Phantom is seen in defense of the Coordinator home colony Aprillus One, downing multiple mobile suits and Alliance motherships, contributing to a overall ZAFT victory.
Heine was also assigned to the the Laurasia-class Montesquieu when the Hawkins Team, along with Hahnenfuss Team are assigned to destroy the falling remains of Junius Seven and also performed excellently in the first battle of the war vs Patrick Zala extremists in his Blaze Zaku Phantom.
ZAFT vs Patrick Zala Faction Remnants at the wreckage of Jachin Due
Afterwards, Heine is promoted to his own team and engages in combat with SEED ASTRAY's supporting main character and mercenary Gai Murakumo in his Gundam ASTRAY Blue Frame, where Heine's teammate is killed.
Despite the fact that Gai is a Combat Coordinator piloting a arguably more advanced mobile suit, Heine manages to hold his own and lands a near-deathblow to the mobile suit of Gai's partner.
Impressed by his performance, Heine is approached by Chairman Durandal, who offers Heine the title of FAITH - chronologically the first character to be offered the title. He declines at first but later accepts promotion to FAITH and is awarded one of two prototype GOUF IGNITED.
Heine's Custom Use GOUF Ignited
Sometime later, Heine is revealed to us in SEED DESTINY Phase 19 as an escort to the Minerva crew to meet Chairman Durandal, who later assigns Heine to assist the Minerva as a member of FAITH.
Heine's presence brings a stabilizing element to the Minerva's crew, who mostly are confused about their position in the war and lacking clear vision, particularly for Athrun Zala, whom Heine attended military school with, bringing a familiar element and friendship to Athrun's life and helping Athrun and the crew find their convictions among the beginnings of a second war.
Athrun: This isn't funny. I AM the supporting main character, RIGHT?
Athrun: Lunamaria?? Meyrin?????
Athrun: OH, COME ON!!!! KIRA ISN'T EVEN HERE!
During the battle of Dardanelles, the Minerva crew finds themselves matched up against the stolen ZAFT-Gundam Prototypes that were re-engineered from the Alliance's coordinator-created GAT-X series from Gundam SEED and their biologically engineered pilots.
Once again, despite a disadvantage in technology, Heine still manages to hold his own with piloting experience alone, dealing suppressing blows to the shocked Stella Louisser in her state of the art Gaia Gundam.
This is no ZAKU! Run and tell that!
Despite Heine's upper hand in this battle along with the Minerva's crew, the flow of the battle, which likely may have been decided in ZAFT's favor, is suddenly interrupted by the sudden return of the Archangel and Kira Yamato piloting Freedom Gundam, which aside from the simple shock of all parties realizing they may be fighting against the most powerful mobile suit in existence, Freedom one shooting all enemies on both sides disrupted the whole battlefield and situation to the degree that Heine's GOUF Ignited was later downed by Stella's Gaia Gundam simply because Heine was distracted and enraged by Freedom's interference.
Heine's loss during this battle set the stage for renewed tension between Athrun Zala and Kira Yamato, introduced a level of risk for the Minerva and established Blue Cosmos as a new primary entity for this crew to work against, who up until this point was a crew that had no real antagonist other than the world itself.
During this time, new mobile suits continued to be in development under Chairman Durandal's purview despite the critical loss of the experimental units at the beginning of the series to the Alliance/Blue Cosmos. It was at this time that the Destiny Gundam and Legend Gundam, initiatives to replace Providence and Freedom from the last Plant-ALLIANCE war were underdevelopment.
Heine: If they didn't stop me, I would have basically been the main character.
With the revelation of Destiny and Legend Gundam, it was revealed later on that Heine, were he not disrupted by Kira Yamato, would have went on to have a FAITH issued Destiny Gundam as well in the form of a Destiny Gundam Unit 2 of sorts.
These mobile suits exist in various alternative Gundam what-if media such as video games, Premium Bandai model kits and so on.
Heine Westenfluss actually did a lot more for the show than we give him credit for.
Without Heine Westenfluss, integrating Archangel and Freedom back into the show quickly wouldn't have had a reason we could get behind. Archangel's interference has been said to create confusion but we as the viewer have never really felt any consequence from that until now.
Archangel in turn, wouldn't just join ZAFT simply because they have mutual enemies in Blue Cosmos, either. Additionally, we don't want to shoot the previous cast for no reason.
Athrun showing up to save the show under the guise of adding extra firepower to Minerva even felt forced before this, because they weren't fighting anybody that difficult. Minerva was largely winning most of it's engagements before Athrun's arrival.
This was actually consistent on-screen with Shinn's refusal to acknowledge Athrun's need to be there.
Heine basically saved this show to some extent, because lets admit. Minerva vs Durandal's grocery list was actually pretty stale.